Weary Huskies have to suck it up vs. Stanford

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on January 22, 2012 at 7:01 PM

GAME: Stanford (15-4, 5-2, Pac-12) at Washington (11-7, 4-2 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 3 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. MEETING: 137th (Cardinal leads 70-66). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: ROOT Sports. RADIO:KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.

With second-leading scorer C.J. Wilcox still unavailable and 15-win Stanford coming to Alaska Airlines Arena Saturday, Lorenzo Romar's Washington Huskies are facing the prospect of dropping consecutive conference games at home for the first time since the midpoint of the 2007-08 season when UW fell to Stanford (65-52), Cal (79-75) and USC (73-59).

C.J. Wilcox, Washington's second-leading scorer (15.5) and best foul shooter (90 percent), didn't play in UW's three-point loss to Cal Thursday after X-rays taken Wednesday showed that the crack in his leg bone has yet to mesh. Romar said Friday there was a chance he could play against the Arizona schools next week, but his lack of conditioning will limit him to perhaps five or 10 minutes.

Better news for UW is that, despite its lofty record, Stanford has proven vulnerable on the road. The Cardinal fell to Washington State in Pullman Thursday, 81-69, and has just one road victory of note, a 103-101, four-overtime win at Oregon State Jan. 7.

Against the Cougars Thursday, Stanford blew a lead and fell out of first place in the Pac-12 regular-season race.

"I thought we mishandled some offensive possessions and had too many ill-advised shots," said Stanford's fourth-year head coach Johnny Dawkins. "Brock Motum made a couple big plays for them (WSU) during their run to help chip away at the lead. Then, Faisal Aden got it going, and it was tough trying to stop him. He was on fire. The young man had a terrific night (33 points)."

Josh Owens, a 6-8 senior forward/center, had 19 points against the Cougars, and is Stanford's leading scorer at 13.1 ppg. Bellevue High graduate (2010) Aaron Bright is Stanford's third-leading scorer (12.1) and leading passer (4.1 apg).

SERIES: Dates to Feb. 1, 1916, when Washington defeated Stanford 35-19 at Palo Alto, CA. The Huskies have won seven of the past eight, including the last meeting, an 87-76 victory at Alaska Airlines Arena Feb. 12, 2011. In that game, UW guard Isaiah Thomas scored 14 of his 22 points in a 2:28 burst before halftime that turned a close game into a rout. Washington has not lost to Stanford in Seattle since Jan. 31, 2008, when the-then No. 14 Cardinal won 65-51. Because of the addition of Colorado and Utah to the conference, the Huskies are not scheduled to play Cal and Stanford on the road this year. Next season the Huskies will play in the Bay Area, but the schools will not play in Seattle.

Romar said Friday of the Cardinal: "They can really shoot the three. On defense, they have great length and bother you around the rim and closing jump shots. They have as good a depth as anyone in the league."

LAST GAME (Washington, Jan. 19): Darnell Gant's 3-point shot with two seconds left fell just short, and the Huskies fell to California 69-66 at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington trailed by 13 points in the first half, but Terrence Ross scored 13 of his 15 in the second half to get the Huskies back in the game. The loss snapped Washington's three-game winning streak. Aziz N'Diaye had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Tony Wroten14 points and five assists. Cal walk-on Robert Thurman scored a career-high 16 points.

LAST GAME (Stanford, Jan. 19): Faisal Aden scored 33 points and Washington State beat Stanford 81-69 to snap a three-game losing streak. The loss knocked the Cardinal (15-4, 5-2) out of first place in the conference on a night where hazardous weather kept the crowd at an announced 3,119. Brock Motum added 16 points and Reggie Moore scored 13 for Washington State. The Cougars made 27 of 29 free throws, with Aden making all 13 of his attempts. Josh Owens scored 19 points to lead Stanford and Chasson Randle added 15.

UW STATS/NOTES: Romar said he would make "adjustments" in playing time and rotation after Wroten and Ross each played 38 minutes Thursday. He didn't go into specifics, but newcomer and football refugee Austin Seferian-Jenkins may see his first game action against the taller, deeper Cardinal . . .  Despite scoring a relatively low 66 points against California Thursday, the Huskies continue to rank No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring at 78.1 ppg. They allow 72.8, next-to-last in the conference . . . Washington's 3-point shooting percentage continues to drop. A month ago, UW made 40 percent of its threes. Now the Huskies are hitting just 36.7 . . . Wroten is the Pac-12's second-leading scorer at 16.6 ppg. But Wroten makes just 55.5 percent of his foul shots and 20.6 percent of his 3-point attempts (7-for-34).

STANFORD STATS/NOTES: Stanford features the Pac-12's No. 3 scoring offense (73.2) and No. 3 scoring defense (62.1), a differential that is second in the conference . . . Stanford makes 7.1 3-pointers per game while shooting 37.4 percent Stanford averages 37.5 rebounds per game (No. 2 in the conference) and leads the conference in rebound margin, +6.9  . . . Stanford features three double-figure scorers in Josh Owens (13.1), Chasson Randle (12.3) and Aaron Bright (12.1) . . . Stanford forces 15.6 turnovers per game . . . The Stanford roster features two Washingtonians, the aforementioned sophomore guard Aaron Bright and 6-9 F/C John Gage from Vashon Island. Gage, a 2010 Vashon High grad, scored nine points against the Huskies vFeb. 12.

COACHES: Romar is in his 10th season as Washington’s head coach. His next win will be the 300th of his career, and the 100th in the Pac-12. His Huskies have won 166 games since 2004-05 (entering the 2011-12 season), most in any seven-year span in school history. Romar signed a 10-year contract extension last April. He won his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16 when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara.

Johnny Dawkins: A former All-America at Duke, Dawkins is in his fourth season as head coach of the Cardinal. After producing a 20-win season (20-14) in his first year, 2008-09, Dawkins' last two teams have gone 14-18 (2009-10) and 15-16 (2010-11). Dawkins launched his coaching career as an assistant at Duke in 1998-99 and served as associate head coach of the Blue Devils from 2000-08, before taking the Stanford job. Dawkins played nine seasons in the NBA with San Antonio, Philadelphia and Detroit.

ART THIEL'S TAKE: The loss to Cal makes trouble for Washington. Said Romar: "We don't have much margin for error, that's for sure." Down to virtually a six-man rotation after injury absences of Wilcox and Scott Suggs, the Huskies can't afford to have anyone in the first six in foul trouble or aimless. Gant was helpless offensively Thursday, and Ross was lost for a half. The second-half rallies often don't work against the better teams. It may that Wroten has go crazy, as in 30/10/5.

Because of the thin bench, the Huskies, to save legs, have to play zone a lot more, which is not their strength. If Stanford hits from outside, game over early. Washington needs a fast start to take off the strain off the late-game rally that requires mostly flawless ball. Not gonna happen. Stanford 75, Washington 70.

STEVE RUDMAN'S TAKE: Washington has developed a disturbing pattern of snoozing through first halves. To cite four examples, it happened against Duke (Dec. 10), against South Dakota State (Dec. 18), against WSU last week, and again against Cal Thursday when the Huskies fell behind by 13 en route to a three-point defeat.

After the loss to Cal, Romar said, "We didn't come out with the type of fire, the kind of concentration we needed." Whether this is a consequence of a young roster or over-confidence, I'm not sure. But given the fact that UW is poor defensively and poor at the foul line, it cannot add first-half nonchalance and expect to succeed. Stanford 76, Washington 72.

COMING UP: Washington takes to the road for a pair at Arizona State (Jan. 26) and Arizona (Jan. 28). The Huskies return home Feb. 2, when they host UCLA. University of Washington 2011-12 Schedule/Results (Rankings Are Current)

Date Opponent UW Rnk Opp Rnk W/L Score Rec.
11/4/11 vs. Seattle Pacific --- --- W 77-60 0-0
11/12/11 vs. Georgia State --- --- W 91-74 1-0
11/13/11 vs. Florida Atlantic --- --- W 77-71 2-0
11/14/11 vs. Portland --- --- W 93-63 3-0
11/20/11 at Saint Louis --- --- L 77-64 3-1
11/25/11 vs. Houston Baptist --- --- W 88-65 4-1
12/2/11 at Nevada --- --- L 76-73 (OT) 4-2
12/6/11 vs. Marquette --- 21 L 79-77 4-3
12/10/11 vs. Duke --- 4 L 86-80 4-4
12/16/11 vs. UC Santa-Barbara --- --- W 87-80 5-4
12/18/11 vs. South Dakota St. --- --- L 92-73 5-5
12/22/11 vs. Cal-State Northridge --- --- W 74-50 6-5
12/29/11 vs. Oregon State --- --- W 95-80 7-5
12/31/11 vs. Oregon --- --- W 76-60 8-5
1/5/12 at Colorado --- --- L 87-69 8-6
1/7/12 at Utah --- --- W 57-53 9-6
1/10/12 vs. Seattle U. --- --- W 91-83 10-6
1/15/12 vs. Washington St. --- --- W 75-65 11-6
1/19/12 vs. California --- --- L 69-66 11-7
1/21/12 vs. Stanford --- --- --- --- ---
1/26/12 at Arizona St. --- --- --- --- ---
1/28/12 at Arizona --- --- --- --- ---
2/2/12 vs. UCLA --- --- --- --- ---
2/4/12 vs. USC --- --- --- --- ---
2/9/12 at Oregon --- --- --- --- ---
2/12/12 at Oregon St. --- --- --- --- ---
2/16/12 vs. Arizona State --- --- --- --- ---
2/18/12 vs. Arizona --- --- --- --- ---
2/25/12 at Washington St. --- --- --- --- ---
3/1/12 at USC --- --- --- --- ---
3/3/12 at UCLA --- --- --- --- ---
3/7/12 Pac-12 Tournament --- --- --- --- ---
3/8/12 Pac-12 Tournament --- --- --- --- ---
3/9/12 Pac-12 Tournament --- --- --- --- ---
3/10/12 Pac-12 Tournament --- --- --- --- ---

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